Maine Economic Development

Most experts agree that the key enablers of economic development in the modern economy are founded upon innovative activities, creativity, and collaborative partnerships. USM contributes to the vibrancy of Maine’s economy, the vitality of its communities, and the health of its environment by developing educated citizens and investing in innovation and creativity.

USM is committed to responding to the workforce and economic development needs of the public, business, and non-profit sectors and ensuring that its initiatives are community-driven, measurable, and outcome-based. To guide USM in fulfilling its economic development role and building a culture that embraces innovation, an Economic Development Strategic Framework will be developed by spring 2017.

The initiatives and programs described below are examples of current USM activities that are focused on outcomes that contribute to a healthy Maine economy, a skilled and educated workforce, a strong business climate, and the stewardship of Maine’s civic assets and environment.

 Maine Economic Improvement Fund (MEIF)The Old Bridge in Fairfield
MEIF @ USM is an investment tool that enables USM to contribute to a thriving economy in Maine by seeding strategic initiatives that address the needs of MEIF target areas and their support ecosystems. Our investments are guided by the MEIF @ USM Strategic Framework which is linked to the UMS Board of Trustees MEIF goals, the USM goals, and the Maine Development Foundation’s Measures of Growth indicators that point toward ways to build Maine’s long-term quality of life. To learn more about MEIF @ USM, click here.

Maine Center for Business & Economic Research (MCBER) (back to top)
Maine Center for Business and Economic Research Graph
The Maine Center for Business & Economic Research (MCBER) seeks to provide high-quality applied research and technical assistance services to Maines private and public sector organizations. Tapping the combined expertise of faculty, staff, and students from the Muskie School of Public Service, we prepare and inspire current and future leaders and stimulate economic growth by providing quality learning opportunities, valuable research, and professional service, all in partnership with the business community.

More information can be found here.

Maine Regulatory Training and Ethics Center (back to top)
MeRTEC logoThe Maine Regulatory Training and Ethics Center (MeRTEC) at USM’s Office of Research Integrity (ORIO) is currently developing a certificate course in regulatory compliance that will allow graduates to provide consultation to businesses about maintaining compliance to regulatory law in a cost-effective manner, regardless of the field or sector. While there are diverse regulatory needs in the workplace, businesses can benefit from those educated in the shared structure of regulatory laws since this meta-knowledge is transferable across many domains of regulations. Students with competency in regulatory compliance will be highly marketable as employees.  They will obtain professional careers with mobility in a state where everyone wants to live. This certification can also provide a trained work force for businesses wanting to maintain this expertise on staff.

In 2015-2016 ORIO staff will test this new certificate course through a collaboration with the New England Ocean Cluster (NEOCH). Start-up businesses in Maine face a regulatory compliance burden that lawyers do not necessarily address and a law degree is not a requirement for. Through this collaboration, NEOCH businesses will gain knowledge about regulatory law; and student interns will be trained/coached to research and provide guidance about regulatory issues pertinent to new businesses.

Ultimately, ORIO staff envision that the certificate course will involve three educational offerings that will maximize the transfer of learning across multiple regulatory domains:

  1. Social Behavioral Science (SBS) or other Bachelor's degree with certificate
  2. Free standing certificate (undergraduate or professional education - using a single unified curriculum model)
  3. Condensed workshops through continuing professional development for a general regulatory compliance overview or more targeted triage/issue identification.

For more information about this certificate course as it is developed, please contact Ross Hickey, Office of Research Integrity and Outreach,

The Maine Small Business Development Center (SBDC) (back to top)
Maine Small Business Development Center LogoMaine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC) provide comprehensive business management assistance, training, resource and information services to Maine's micro, small, and technology-based business communities.

More information can be found here.